I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ...
These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever...
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.
Perhaps we need to remind ourselves: the Bible was written for believers. Certainly, countless others have been saved, because Its Words are designed to bring life. But concerning Its cautions and callouts, we need to look at ourselves - not outsiders.
Because in our churches are false prophets. Jesus warned us of their deadly effects. Paul, Peter, John and Jude give more details. But how do churches look at their leaders? Is filling the pews our highest standard?
Do best-selling books, great-sounding words, and advanced degrees lift them beyond reproach? If so, we've set ourselves up for failure. Let us cling to Cross-examination. Ungodliness is seen in behaviors. Focusing just on the short Book of Jude, consider some acts God nails with His Word:
1) Bad leaders 'creep' into their positions. Perhaps they rose in feigned conformity? God spotted them, but men dismissed the signs.
2) Once they rose, their spots became contagious. With others tainted, who's left to take note? They pretend to serve, but best serve themselves.
3) God describes false prophets in dreadful terms: dry, wind-blown clouds and twice-dead, fruitless trees; wandering stars destined for deep darkness.
4) They are complainers: grumbling and selfish; professional speakers with swelling words, who flatter people to gain advantage.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: avoid these acts. Their stars may gain worldly success, but God's condemnation awaits.
To Be Continued...
* Excellent, referenced article on false teachers in the New Testament: https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-107-final-warning-beware-false-teachers-romans-1617-20
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Complaining series.